SAN ANTONIO — A pultruded, double-web I-beam won the $5,000 Best of Show honor in the Composites Fabricators Association's 1998 ACE awards competition.
The Bristol, Va., division of Strongwell designed and produced the structural shape in cooperation with the U.S. Commerce Department's advanced technology program. Carbon fiber in the top and bottom flanges provides stiffness.
Strongwell is using the product to target the infrastructure market and is working to install a 30-to 35-foot bridge as a replacement for a deteriorated highway span in southwest Virginia in 1999. Partners in the project include Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the state's transportation department and the Virginia Transportation Research Council.
The I-beam's modulus of elasticity is twice that of standard fiber reinforced plastic structural shapes, and its torsional stability reduces the need for lateral bracing.
Winners in five other ACE categories received $1,000 each.
Design Evolution 4 Inc. of Lebanon, Ohio, won the Technical Innovation award for a structural composite car chassis that was fabricated with the resin transfer molding process.
The firm designed the large 180-pound part as the chassis for the Sunrise electric vehicle from Solectria Corp. of Wilmington, Mass.
A new sequential-multiport-resin-injection-manifold system facilitates a flow time of nine minutes, aided by a first-time capability to change any one of the fillports during the injection process.
StorageTek Corp.'s composites engineering and manufacturing group of Louisville, Colo., won the Quality in Manufacturing award for a robotic assembly for its PowderHorn data storage libraries.
The system filament winds carbon fiber composites for 4-inch-square and 7-inch-square tubular robotic arms and a conical support pedestal. StorageTek fabricates the components at a rate of 1,300 assemblies per year.
Hexcel Corp.'s industrial structures unit of Kent, Wash., won the Market Viability award for a one-piece pultruded cab-sleeper floor for the T2000 class 8 truck from Kenworth Truck Co. of Kirkland, Wash. The floor went into production two years ago. Hexcel is producing 25 units per day.
The design has reduced assembly labor and eliminated several assembly stations at Kenworth's Chillicothe, Ohio, plant.
The monocoque floor is about 117 inches long by 87 inches wide and replaces a multipiece sheet metal assembly. The flat floor forms a base for the cab's walls, doors and interior components.
Desert Sun Fiberglass Systems Inc. of Phoenix won the People's Choice award, based on a poll of Composites '98 attendees, for a tag-along golf cart trailer.
The trailer can display as many as 300 drivers, irons and putters and has drawers, a sliding table and a subfloor for custom golf-club manufacturer Golf Dynamics Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz. The trailer typically is pulled behind a golf cart but also can be towed on the highway. A urethane foam sandwich laminate construction is used for the four doors and top of the main body. Other molds form four inset panels and the floor.
Addax Inc. of Lincoln, Neb., won the Technical Innovation for Corrosion Applications award — a new category — for a continuous-fiber-reinforced-composite flange for transmitting torque in long drive-shaft spans.
Manufacturing the flange costs less than making a comparable stainless steel product. The winning product has a torque capacity near that of metal flanges.
AOC of Collierville, Tenn., and GLS Composites Distribution Corp. of Arlington Heights, Ill., presented the first five awards, and Ashland Chemical presented the corrosion applications award in an Oct. 23 ceremony at the Composites '98 banquet.
Forty-three entries were submitted in CFA's fifth annual product competition.
ACE stands for Award for Composites Excellence.